Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generation, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around the house wearing a jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel round his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing evildoers (in his head) as The Thunderbolt Kid.
Using his old fantasy life as a springboard, Bill Bryson recreates the life of his family in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality. In a period that saw the inexorable rise of television, the opening of Disneyland, the testing of the atomic bomb, and the explosion of choice in everything from food to cars, Bill Bryson's days followed in reassuringly cosy succession, enlivened by modest triumphs and disasters.
Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, The Thunderbolt Kid is full of Bill Bryson's inimitable, pitch-perfect observations and this unabridged recording contains every single amusing anecdote and amazing fact. Nothing is left out, so you can enjoy the whole book in its entirety, read by Bill Bryson himself.
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I enjoyed this very much, chuckled all the way through and was almost sorry when it finished. It was a bonus having the author read his own work. Thank you for sharing your childhood adventures with your reading public!
Not been American
The father, proving fathers are the same world wide
from the horse's mouth
No, styled that one could dip and out, therefore, prolonging the pleasure
Marvelous insight into growing up in small town America in the 50/60's
I have enjoyed Bryson's other books but this one is an in-your-face reminder of how actually disgusting little boys can be - his loving and graphic descriptions of the things boys get up to had me almost sick; I had to stop listening. Some listeners may delight in remembering the sheer ickiness of childhood experience, but I didn't.
"Worth every penny"
Laugh out loud funny, an intensly enjoyable listen, brilliant. How does Bill Bryson do it, just a man with a great sense of humour and a wonderful way of putting on paper or into your ears.
"So funny and brilliantly read."
Firstly, I can't overemphasise how much I enjoy Bryson's narration over William Roberts'. Perhaps the most compelling evidence is that I actually bought his abridged version of a Short History, even though I owned and had twice listened to the unabridged one simply because I wanted to hear Bill Bryson reading it.
It's really surprising to hear other people haven't enjoyed his narration, because I think his delivery is perfect although, it must be said, he does speak in a low tone.
I had always avoided the more anecdotal Bryson novels over the more factual ones, feeling that novels like a Short History and Private Life were more nourishing. A Walk in the Woods changed my mind on that, so I bought this and enjoyed it so much that I think it could be my favourite Bryson audiobook.
I guess the chances are slim that Bill will narrate an unabridged version of a Short History, but if he does, then I'll find myself with three copies of that damn book....
This is a brilliant and highly recommended audiobook! Despite what others say, Bill Bryson reads this with true passion and can easily keep you listening for hours. Be warned, however - do not listen to this in public in order to save yourself from embarrassing yourself as you keep on laughing out loud!
"It's got everything"
Had me laughing out loud in the gym.
Full of great useless facts
Bryson at his best
"Good but not his best"
Bill Bryson recounts his early years. This is the first, and possibly the last reading by Mr Bryson I would get.. William Roberts does a far better job of reading and giving heart to the text BUT this is Bill's story so whilst his intonation is not up to the standard his heart comes through... Well worth a listen, the more so if you have enjoyed his other works...
"I like his humour"
I enjoyed this romp through Iowa in the 1950's, and although I didn't grow up in that decade, I recognise the nostalgia. Long days and little responsibility, brands long gone but shared memories. I also like his sense of humour, which helps to make the book a pleasant listen. He reads it well, but a little bit fast.
Laugh out loud funny at times.
I think everybody has their own favorite Bryson book and this one for me is one of my favorites.
A few people have complained about Bryson as the narrator on this but I actually think he does a good job with.
Even though my childhood was a good 25 years after Bryson, there are some fantastic nostalgic moments in this book that remind me of my own childhood, but the thing I like about this book the most is this is punctuated right the way through the book with some hilarious sub-story's which litterly make you laugh out loud, no matter where you are!
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